O'Neil Lawrence is a trained photographer and a graduate of both the University of the West Indies and the Edna Manley College of The Visual and Performing Arts. His work questions the new World experience and what it means to be Jamaican. Because of this, issues related to Africa, slavery, the Middle Passage and our resulting actions and values all figure in his work. In particular, he considers the role of religion in our lives recognizing that Christianity, once a tool of enslavement and colonization, has been creolized to accommodate our African heritage.
Lawrence's photographs are both personal and political as he uses his own denuded body to pose questions about the larger issues of identity and belonging. In Redefined, a recent series created for the Curator Eye III exhibition Ceremony this critique is staged on the Jamaican shoreline, the site of our 're-birthing'. His naked body is strung out along the coastline caught in various ceremonial acts that suggest baptism and renewal.
But Lawrence's photographs are not always so positive. More recently he has begun to explore notions of separation and loss, incorporating the female form into his outdoor theatre, in ways that are poignant but also disconcerting.